Authors: Should Your Audiobook Be Free?

Audiobook Narrator - Reader


Giving Your Audiobooks Away*

Authors have the option to use audiobooks as a lead generator rather than as a separate source of income. Posting audio for free is one way to steer potential readers to purchase print and e-book versions.

Australian science fiction and fantasy author Adam Train at releases his audiobooks for free on SoundCloud and YouTube in “podcast” format.ttales

Adam Train rides the “podiobook” train:

I decided to go the free route because I feel that the ‘direct payment’ model, particularly for digital content, is an antiquated one. In the digital realm, if people want your content and don’t want to pay for it, there is almost always a way they can obtain it through piracy or simply by sharing it. This along with the fact that as an unknown writer it is tough enough to get people to read or listen to your work, let alone if they have to pay for it, making it free is marketing unto its self.

 Because my focus for the works is to produce them into an audiobook podcast, and 99% of podcasts are free, also made it an easy choice. Most importantly, as a consumer of digital content myself, I would rather consume free content and be given the option to support or donate. Not to mention that today there are countless ways to monetize content via indirect or passive means. Sponsors, merchandise and crowdfunding just being a few.

This whole creative endeavor is more about fulfilling a lifelong dream to bring my series of stories to life. I would be beyond happy if I made enough money to tell stories for a living and make enough from my works to produce more works. I hope to build enough subscribers and listeners to utilize advertising as most podcasters do, and I also have a Patreon (crowdfunding) account and PayPal donations account and hope to grow these like many others have.

Where Adam Train has chosen to give his audiobooks away, authors can do a variation, such as:

  • Give it away free for a limited time.
  • Give it away as a bonus to purchasers of the eBook edition.
  • Include it as part of an overall launch strategy—bringing the listener back to their website to initiate the download requires them to leave their email address.
  • Create a “build your email list” campaign from the website Home page: “Get my latest book for 30 days free: subscribe here.”

When authors use an audiobook as a Bonus Free offer off their website,  capturing listener emails allows them to share announcements about their latest ventures, to offer special deals, and promote webinars and workshops.

Free audiobooks can be used to increase an author’s fan base and sell more books.

*This is an excerpt from The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creationby Richard Rieman.


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.